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Mono-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (MEHP) is the primary metabolite of the ubiquitous plasticizer and toxicant, di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate. MEHP exposure has been linked to abnormal development, increased oxidative stress, and metabolic syndrome in vertebrates. Nuclear factor, Erythroid 2 Like 2 (Nrf2), is a transcription factor that regulates gene expression in response to oxidative stress. We investigated the role of Nrf2a in larval steatosis following embryonic exposure to MEHP. Wild-type and nrf2a mutant (m) zebrafish embryos were exposed to 0 or 200 μg/l MEHP from 6 to either 96 (histology) or 120 hours post fertilization (hpf). At 120 hpf, exposures were ceased and fish were maintained in clean conditions until 15 days post fertilization (dpf). At 15 dpf, fish lengths and lipid content were examined, and the expression of genes involved in the antioxidant response and lipid processing was quantified. At 96 hpf, a subset of animals treated with MEHP had vacuolization in the liver. At 15 dpf, deficient Nrf2a signaling attenuated fish length by 7.7%. MEHP exposure increased hepatic steatosis and increased expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha target fabp1a1. Cumulatively, these data indicate that developmental exposure alone to MEHP may increase risk for hepatic steatosis and that Nrf2a does not play a major role in this phenotype.
The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is an open access telescope dedicated to studying the low-frequency (80–300 MHz) southern sky. Since beginning operations in mid-2013, the MWA has opened a new observational window in the southern hemisphere enabling many science areas. The driving science objectives of the original design were to observe 21 cm radiation from the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR), explore the radio time domain, perform Galactic and extragalactic surveys, and monitor solar, heliospheric, and ionospheric phenomena. All together
programs recorded 20 000 h producing 146 papers to date. In 2016, the telescope underwent a major upgrade resulting in alternating compact and extended configurations. Other upgrades, including digital back-ends and a rapid-response triggering system, have been developed since the original array was commissioned. In this paper, we review the major results from the prior operation of the MWA and then discuss the new science paths enabled by the improved capabilities. We group these science opportunities by the four original science themes but also include ideas for directions outside these categories.
The Single Ventricle Reconstruction Trial randomised neonates with hypoplastic left heart syndrome to a shunt strategy but otherwise retained standard of care. We aimed to describe centre-level practice variation at Fontan completion.
Centre-level data are reported as median or median frequency across all centres and range of medians or frequencies across centres. Classification and regression tree analysis assessed the association of centre-level factors with length of stay and percentage of patients with prolonged pleural effusion (>7 days).
The median Fontan age (14 centres, 320 patients) was 3.1 years (range from 1.7 to 3.9), and the weight-for-age z-score was −0.56 (−1.35 + 0.44). Extra-cardiac Fontans were performed in 79% (4–100%) of patients at the 13 centres performing this procedure; lateral tunnels were performed in 32% (3–100%) at the 11 centres performing it. Deep hypothermic circulatory arrest (nine centres) ranged from 6 to 100%. Major complications occurred in 17% (7–33%). The length of stay was 9.5 days (9–12); 15% (6–33%) had prolonged pleural effusion. Centres with fewer patients (<6%) with prolonged pleural effusion and fewer (<41%) complications had a shorter length of stay (<10 days; sensitivity 1.0; specificity 0.71; area under the curve 0.96). Avoiding deep hypothermic circulatory arrest and higher weight-for-age z-score were associated with a lower percentage of patients with prolonged effusions (<9.5%; sensitivity 1.0; specificity = 0.86; area under the curve 0.98).
Fontan perioperative practices varied widely among study centres. Strategies to decrease the duration of pleural effusion and minimise complications may decrease the length of stay. Further research regarding deep hypothermic circulatory arrest is needed to understand its association with prolonged pleural effusion.
The science of studying diamond inclusions for understanding Earth history has developed significantly over the past decades, with new instrumentation and techniques applied to diamond sample archives revealing the stories contained within diamond inclusions. This chapter reviews what diamonds can tell us about the deep carbon cycle over the course of Earth’s history. It reviews how the geochemistry of diamonds and their inclusions inform us about the deep carbon cycle, the origin of the diamonds in Earth’s mantle, and the evolution of diamonds through time.
Recent years have seen an exponential increase in the variety of healthcare data captured across numerous sources. However, mechanisms to leverage these data sources to support scientific investigation have remained limited. In 2013 the Pediatric Heart Network (PHN), funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, developed the Integrated CARdiac Data and Outcomes (iCARD) Collaborative with the goals of leveraging available data sources to aid in efficiently planning and conducting PHN studies; supporting integration of PHN data with other sources to foster novel research otherwise not possible; and mentoring young investigators in these areas. This review describes lessons learned through the development of iCARD, initial efforts and scientific output, challenges, and future directions. This information can aid in the use and optimisation of data integration methodologies across other research networks and organisations.
To evaluate the association between novel pre- and post-operative biomarker levels and 30-day unplanned readmission or mortality after paediatric congenital heart surgery.
Children aged 18 years or younger undergoing congenital heart surgery (n = 162) at Johns Hopkins Hospital from 2010 to 2014 were enrolled in the prospective cohort. Collected novel pre- and post-operative biomarkers include soluble suppression of tumorgenicity 2, galectin-3, N-terminal prohormone of brain natriuretic peptide, and glial fibrillary acidic protein. A model based on clinical variables from the Society of Thoracic Surgery database was developed and evaluated against two augmented models.
Unplanned readmission or mortality within 30 days of cardiac surgery occurred among 21 (13%) children. The clinical model augmented with pre-operative biomarkers demonstrated a statistically significant improvement over the clinical model alone with a receiver-operating characteristics curve of 0.754 (95% confidence interval: 0.65–0.86) compared to 0.617 (95% confidence interval: 0.47–0.76; p-value: 0.012). The clinical model augmented with pre- and post-operative biomarkers demonstrated a significant improvement over the clinical model alone, with a receiver-operating characteristics curve of 0.802 (95% confidence interval: 0.72–0.89; p-value: 0.003).
Novel biomarkers add significant predictive value when assessing the likelihood of unplanned readmission or mortality after paediatric congenital heart surgery. Further exploration of the utility of these novel biomarkers during the pre- or post-operative period to identify early risk of mortality or readmission will aid in determining the clinical utility and application of these biomarkers into routine risk assessment.
Antipseudomonal carbapenems are an important target for antimicrobial stewardship programs. We evaluated the impact of formulary restriction and preauthorization on relative carbapenem use for medical and surgical intensive care units at a large, urban academic medical center using interrupted time-series analysis.
Exercise and physical training are known to affect gastrointestinal function and digestibility in horses and can lead to inaccurate estimates of nutrient and energy digestibility when markers are used. The effect of exercise on apparent nutrient digestibility and faecal recoveries of ADL and TiO2 was studied in six Welsh pony geldings subjected to either a low- (LI) or high-intensity (HI) exercise regime according to a cross-over design. Ponies performing LI exercise were walked once per day for 45 min in a horse walker (5 km/h) for 47 consecutive days. Ponies submitted to HI exercise were gradually trained for the same 47 days according a standardized protocol. Throughout the experiment, the ponies received a fixed level of feed and the daily rations consisted of 4.7 kg DM of grass hay and 0.95 kg DM of concentrate. The diet was supplemented with minerals, vitamins and TiO2 (3.0 g Ti/day). Total tract digestibility of DM, organic matter (OM), CP, crude fat, NDF, ADF, starch, sugar and energy was determined with the total faeces collection (TFC) method. In addition, DM and OM digestibility was estimated using internal ADL and the externally supplemented Ti as markers. Urine was collected on the final 2 days of each experimental period. Exercise did not affect apparent digestibility of CP, crude fat, starch and sugar. Digestibility of DM (DMD), OM (OMD), ADF and NDF tended to be lower and DE was decreased when ponies received the HI exercise regime. For all treatments combined, mean faecal recoveries of ADL and Ti were 87.8±1.7% and 99.3±1.7%, respectively. Ti was not detected in the urine, indicating that intestinal integrity was maintained with exercise. Dry matter digestibility estimated with the TFC, ADL and Ti for ponies subjected to LI exercise were 66.3%, 60.3% and 64.8%, respectively, while DMD for HI ponies were 64.2%, 60.3% and 65.2%, respectively. In conclusion, physical exercise has an influence on the GE digestibility of the feed in ponies provided with equivalent levels of feed intake. In addition, the two markers used for estimating apparent DMD and OMD indicate that externally supplemented Ti is a suitable marker to determine digestibility of nutrients in horses performing exercise unlike dietary ADL.
Across the globe, the implementation of quality improvement science and collaborative learning has positively affected the care and outcomes for children born with CHD. These efforts have advanced the collective expertise and performance of inter-professional healthcare teams. In this review, we highlight selected quality improvement initiatives and strategies impacting the field of cardiovascular care and describe implications for future practice and research. The continued leveraging of technology, commitment to data transparency, focus on team-based practice, and recognition of cultural norms and preferences ensure the success of sustainable models of global collaboration.
X-ray fluorescence spectrometry was used in mapping and spot analysis modes, to help identify which elements are useful for understanding the composition of ancient papyrus inks, for 25 papyri from four age groups. We report seven elements (Al, Si, P, S, Ca, Ti, Fe) which provide sufficient contrast to be useful for mapping analysis, and 16 elements (P, S, Cl, K, Ca, V, Mn, Ni, Cu, Zn, Rb, Sr, Nb, Ag, Ba, and Pb) which show significant differences through time. Only one element – Pb – showed sufficient contrast in the thin ink layer to be significantly different when measured on the ink and adjacent papyrus. There is greater complexity in the elemental compositions of the papyrus and ink than can be understood with a study this size and additional work is required to develop and explain the patterns observed here.
Ensuring ready access to free drinking-water in schools is an important strategy for prevention of obesity and dental caries, and for improving student learning. Yet to date, there are no validated instruments to examine water access in schools. The present study aimed to develop and validate a survey of school administrators to examine school access to beverages, including water and sports drinks, and school and district-level water-related policies and practices.
Survey validity was measured by comparing results of telephone surveys of school administrators with on-site observations of beverage access and reviews of school policy documents for any references to beverages. The semi-structured telephone survey included items about free drinking-water access (sixty-four items), commonly available competitive beverages (twenty-nine items) and water-related policies and practices (twenty-eight items). Agreement between administrator surveys and observation/document review was calculated using kappa statistics for categorical variables, and Pearson correlation coefficients and t tests for continuous variables.
Public schools in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA.
School administrators (n 24).
Eighty-one per cent of questions related to school beverage access yielded κ values indicating substantial or almost perfect agreement (κ>0·60). However, only one of twenty-eight questions related to drinking-water practices and policies yielded a κ value representing substantial or almost perfect agreement.
This school administrator survey appears reasonably valid for questions related to beverage access, but less valid for questions on water-related practices and policies. This tool provides policy makers, researchers and advocates with a low-cost, efficient method to gather national data on school-level beverage access.
Puumala virus (PUUV) causes many human infections in large parts of Europe and can lead to mild to moderate disease. The bank vole (Myodes glareolus) is the only reservoir of PUUV in Central Europe. A commercial PUUV rapid field test for rodents was validated for bank-vole blood samples collected in two PUUV-endemic regions in Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg). A comparison of the results of the rapid field test and standard ELISAs indicated a test efficacy of 93–95%, largely independent of the origin of the antigens used in the ELISA. In ELISAs, reactivity for the German PUUV strain was higher compared to the Swedish strain but not compared to the Finnish strain, which was used for the rapid field test. In conclusion, the use of the rapid field test can facilitate short-term estimation of PUUV seroprevalence in bank-vole populations in Germany and can aid in assessing human PUUV infection risk.
The nutrient choline is necessary for membrane synthesis and methyl donation, with increased requirements during lactation. The majority of immune development occurs postnatally, but the importance of choline supply for immune development during this critical period is unknown. The objective of this study was to determine the importance of maternal supply of choline during suckling on immune function in their offspring among rodents. At parturition, Sprague–Dawley dams were randomised to either a choline-devoid (ChD; n 7) or choline-sufficient (ChS, 1 g/kg choline; n 10) diet with their offspring euthanised at 3 weeks of age. In a second experiment, offspring were weaned to a ChS diet until 10 weeks of age (ChD-ChS, n 5 and ChS-ChS, n 9). Splenocytes were isolated, and parameters of immune function were measured. The ChD offspring received less choline in breast milk and had lower final body and organ weight compared with ChS offspring (P<0·05), but this effect disappeared by week 10 with choline supplementation from weaning. ChD offspring had a higher proportion of T cells expressing activation markers (CD71 or CD28) and a lower proportion of total B cells (CD45RA+) and responded less to T cell stimulation (lower stimulation index and less IFN-γ production) ex vivo (P<0·05). ChD-ChS offspring had a lower proportion of total and activated CD4+ T cells, and produced less IL-6 after mitogen stimulation compared with cells from ChS-ChS (P<0·05). Our study suggests that choline is required in the suckling diet to facilitate immune development, and choline deprivation during this critical period has lasting effects on T cell function later in life.
In Germany tularemia is a re-emerging zoonotic disease. Therefore, we investigated wild animals and environmental water samples for the presence and phylogenetic diversity of Francisella tularensis in the poorly studied Berlin/Brandenburg region. The phylogenomic analysis of three isolates from wild animals revealed three new subclades within the phylogenetic tree of F. tularensis [B.71 from a raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides); B.74 from a red fox (Vulpes vulpes), and B.75 from a Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber albicus)]. The results from histological, PCR, and genomic investigations on the dead beaver showed that the animal suffered from a systemic infection. Indications were found that the bacteria were released from the beaver carcass into the surrounding environment. We demonstrated unexpectedly high and novel phylogenetic diversity of F. tularensis in Germany and the fact that the bacteria persist in the environment for at least one climatic season. These findings support a broader host species diversity than previously known regarding Germany. Our data further support the assumption derived from previous serological studies of an underestimated frequency of occurrence of the pathogen in the environment and in wild animals. F. tularensis was isolated from animal species not previously reported as natural hosts in Germany.
Optimal implementation of audit-and-feedback is an important part of advancing antimicrobial stewardship programs. Our survey demonstrated variability in how 61 programs approach audit-and-feedback. The median (interquartile range) number of recommendations per week was 9 (5–19) per 100 hospital-beds. A major perceived barrier to more comprehensive stewardship was lack of resources.
We compare first-order (refractive) ionospheric effects seen by the MWA with the ionosphere as inferred from GPS data. The first-order ionosphere manifests itself as a bulk position shift of the observed sources across an MWA field of view. These effects can be computed from global ionosphere maps provided by GPS analysis centres, namely the CODE. However, for precision radio astronomy applications, data from local GPS networks needs to be incorporated into ionospheric modelling. For GPS observations, the ionospheric parameters are biased by GPS receiver instrument delays, among other effects, also known as receiver DCBs. The receiver DCBs need to be estimated for any non-CODE GPS station used for ionosphere modelling. In this work, single GPS station-based ionospheric modelling is performed at a time resolution of 10 min. Also the receiver DCBs are estimated for selected Geoscience Australia GPS receivers, located at Murchison Radio Observatory, Yarragadee, Mount Magnet and Wiluna. The ionospheric gradients estimated from GPS are compared with that inferred from MWA. The ionospheric gradients at all the GPS stations show a correlation with the gradients observed with the MWA. The ionosphere estimates obtained using GPS measurements show promise in terms of providing calibration information for the MWA.
In the United States alone, ∼14,000 children are hospitalised annually with acute heart failure. The science and art of caring for these patients continues to evolve. The International Pediatric Heart Failure Summit of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute was held on February 4 and 5, 2015. The 2015 International Pediatric Heart Failure Summit of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute was funded through the Andrews/Daicoff Cardiovascular Program Endowment, a philanthropic collaboration between All Children’s Hospital and the Morsani College of Medicine at the University of South Florida (USF). Sponsored by All Children’s Hospital Andrews/Daicoff Cardiovascular Program, the International Pediatric Heart Failure Summit assembled leaders in clinical and scientific disciplines related to paediatric heart failure and created a multi-disciplinary “think-tank”. The purpose of this manuscript is to summarise the lessons from the 2015 International Pediatric Heart Failure Summit of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute, to describe the “state of the art” of the treatment of paediatric cardiac failure, and to discuss future directions for research in the domain of paediatric cardiac failure.